After three hundred years of economic expansion, we are so impoverished that we lack the wealth and freedom of a squirrel. The indigenous people who lived here before the Europeans arrived had the run of the land. They had the simple freedom to say, “Let us climb that mountain. Let us swim in that lake. Let us fish that river.” Not even the wealthiest among us have that freedom today.
This summer I went camping with some friends in upstate New York. We showed up at North-South lake on Sunday morning ready to swim. Signs said no swimming outside of the small designated area. And no swimming if there was no lifeguard on duty. But we decided to take our chances and waded into the water.
Good timing because just then the lifeguard showed up.
“Get out of the water there’s no lifeguard on duty yet!” The lifeguard said.
A fellow beachgoer said: “Also you need to be inside the ropes.”
I hadn’t even gotten my hair wet yet.
The fishes are freer than me.